Signals Crossed


I had a recent discussion with my children that left me stunned. I apparently have no idea what I am communicating when I text, and maybe even when I email!

If you are older than a Millennial, you probably don’t know this either. If you are a Millennial or Gen Z, I’m here to tell you, although you probably already know, that we have no idea what we’re saying when we text you.

It all started with a simple word.

Sure

or

Sure.

Did you see what I did there? If you are someone whose formative years happened before cell phones and texting became a thing, you see a simple and generally positive response to a question.

“Can I stop by after I drop off my dog?”

“Sure”

In other words, “No problem,” “You bet,” “Why not?”

But my children and everyone in their generation feels horror when they get the dreaded “Sure” It’s a rolling-of-the-eyes, passive-aggressive way to say yes when you really want to say no, but you can’t.

Who knew?

Add a period to the end, and the fight is ON! In fact, a period at the end of almost any text is like adding an angry exclamation point to the sentence.

“Come home.” translates to “If you don’t get here in the next thirty seconds, you will regret it for the next thirty years.”

I had no idea I was so angry. I thought I was just writing with good grammatical practices. I’ve been trained NOT to leave periods off of my sentences

(And right there my 7th-grade English teacher loses her mind!)

So, to try to keep the peace and a spirit of generosity and forgiveness (***faith tie-in!***), I have this to say to the younger generation:

If you’re not sure about the tone of a text, check the age of the texter. They may have no idea what they just said. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Sure.

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas